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The Pursuit of Beauty

I'm M.C.A. Hogarth, author and artist. I write fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc), nonfiction (mostly about business and parenthood) and draw pictures, mostly of dragons, elves and people in beautiful clothes. Below you can see some of what I'm doing currently, and check up on my status.

Latest Kickstarter Project
Nothing planned until 2015!


Writing
Latest E-Fiction: Check out the fiction I have online, what order to read it in and where to buy it. Or have a look at my intended publishing schedule for the year.

Latest Paperback: Laisrathera, Book 3 of Her Instruments. Space opera; in this case, the continuing adventures of irascible merchant Captain Reese Eddings, as she delves deeply (and unwillingly) into space elf politics...

Current Serial: TBA!

Art
Latest Sale: Originals are for sale here. My Zazzle store offers prints, mugs, shirts, bags and such! Otherwise you can keep up on my offers on Livejournal through my "sale" tag.

General:
If you have a lot of spare time and haven't browsed it yet, I have over 3000 images available on my website, sketches, paintings and comics.

Cons: Watch this Space!

Status
Balance Card 5-Card Readings: Not Available
Balance Card Keepsake Paintings: Not Available
Commissions: Not taking them.
Illustration projects: Not taking them.

P.O. Box
Email me for my address, if you'd like to request materials or send a tip or donation.


MCAH Online Home.
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So I am home from my week-long trip in London! When I was 9, my grandparents, parents, sister and I went on a whirlwind trip through Europe: three days each in London, Paris, Rome, and Madrid. Many, many, many years later, my parents wanted to reprise this trip as the grandparental generation, so as a gift they arranged for all of us (including my sister, husband, and daughter) to go to London. Which is what we did, and it was a far more engrossing experience for me as an adult than it was for me as a child (though as a child it was a formative experience).

I will probably talk more at length about it for a few posts, and get some pictures up (alas, my data connection overseas was horrendous, so I couldn't post them then), but for now, some observations:

The weather. Was as cold in summer as it is for us here in winter. I loved it. We had several sunny cold days, and a couple of rainy cold days, and they were brisk enough to chap your cheeks and make hot chocolate deeply satisfying. (Most of the year here in Florida I have to be in air conditioning for a while to want a hot drink.) You realize how people could wear such elaborate costumes (or in modern times, layers of beautiful clothes). They need them!

The dew point. I use a daily skin cream because it's tinted and has sunscreen. I'm used to it sitting on my face kind of slimy-ishly until it dries. This is because it's a moisturizer, something I discovered on my second day in London because it sank into my skin and vanished. I was very dehydrated a lot of the time.

Money. In the US when you get change, you have four coins: one cent, five cents, ten cents, or twenty-five. There are dollar coins but no one gives them out normally. I was very confused at how many coins I ended up with in England—eight, maybe? Plus the bills were different shapes. I almost bought a wallet while I was there but thought at the last moment, 'I'd better not because if it's sized for their bills who knows what shape it'll be.'

Bathrooms. Were tiny, infrequent, and you often had to pay money to get into them. What.

Drinks. I kept asking for decaf and getting tea. I suppose I should have seen that one coming.

Flora. The vegetation was gorgeous. Enormous trees with ancient names. Broad fields divided into rectangles by hedgerows like something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien painting. Wildflowers! Their wildflowers are large enough to be seen and in different colors?? No wonder people go picking flowers. You don't get wildflowers like that here. It was beautiful.

Fauna. On the other hand, I am used to seeing a broad assortment of birds. I think I saw five in my entire trip: seagulls (lots of gulls crying in London), pigeons, ducks, two swans, and once what I thought was a kite. No squirrels in the city, either, or other small critters, like lizards—you can't throw a rock without hitting a lizard here. Lots of livestock outside the city; prior to my trip I'd seen maybe three sheep in my life, all in petting zoos, and this despite several very long car trips through rural America. I have now seen a billion sheep. Plus cows, ponies (!), horses, goats, pigs, and a flock of geese.

Food. Was generally of higher quality than at home. I ate my way through London. Hotel Chocolat was as delicious as everyone over there promised, and I even went to their cafe to have their hot cocoa. There was a market next to it with the most amazing licorice, and Turkish delight and baklava that melted in your mouth, and a hunk of Prosciutto I wished I could have taken home. I wish I could have gone back to that market and bought a pound of some of the things there to take home with me...!

Class. There was a lot of classism, and it was (from an external view) very complex: an internal hierarchy, plus the one from foreign immigrants, plus the one applied to me as an American tourist. There was a great deal of disdain for us; most of it was subconscious, I think, and expressed itself as an offhand breeziness. Several of our tour guides spoke of 'the last King of America', which even I as a first-generation immigrant know to be appalling. (This is not to say that America is devoid of class issues. It's just that ours feels more amorphous and porous.) People often accuse Americans of being caught up in their own superiority and rude to foreigners, but to be honest I didn't see any less of that abroad. I think the British have a great deal to be proud of and don't begrudge them it... but being less snobby isn't one of those things. *grin*

The architecture. Was gorgeous, and it's hard to tell whether to find the weight of history surrounding you crushing or inspiring. I would guess it depends on your personality.

Distances. Were so tiny! One of our day tours was deemed "ambitious" by the guide at 250 miles round-trip, "And we'll be able to see the tip of Wales!" I was thinking to myself that I can drive five hours and not be out of Florida yet. When we went to Stonehenge I fully expected to be on the bus for five or six hours in order to reach a place sufficiently distant from civilization to host a monument known to be in the countryside. Instead, we were barely forty minutes away from the last town and then, boom, we were there. I was also fascinated by discussions of having to deal with border patrols and border crossings so frequently. It must be very strange to be able to drive into another country easily.

Worlds. It was very odd to see places I've read about in books in person. Not just as an adult (discovering that the Pump Rooms and the Assembly Rooms from Heyer's novels really are there was quite astonishing), but also as a child. It made me realize those books helped shape me. A lot of my language oddities are the result of my reading children's books by British authors. My conception that it should get cold in winter, and that gardens are somehow astonishing in spring when they start to grow comes from these books as well. I understand in a more visceral way what people mean when they talk about 'seeing themselves' in books. I like the magic of a book taking me to a completely alien world, but if it's the only world you ever visit you start wondering if there's something wrong with the one you live in. Few fantasy novels are set in Florida, or climates like it. It's no wonder I sometimes feel disappointed that I don't get to experience a "proper Christmas" or a garden you have to fight to grow.

So, some impressions. I found England very agreeable (though if you told me 'pick a place to live!' my kneejerk response would be Bath, not London). But I am glad to be home.

I shall go through some pictures and tell you about the places we visited next. For now, I need to finish figuring out work and prepping child for school, etc, etc. :)

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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...oh, yes, also, I left! London was delightful (and cold!) and I will talk more about the trip later. But the plane ride home was nine hours long (that was in the plane--I am not counting the 3 hours spent in the car getting to and from airports, and the 2 hours in the airport itself, etc, etc). So I am the Very Tired Jaguar!

But it was fun, and I am glad we went. More when I am re-acclimated to my usual schedule.

Current Mood: tired tired

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I am the super-busy jaguar, but have some links while I'm knee-deep in stuff!

Study discovers most kissing is non-sexual. Apparently the 'romantic' kiss is a specific cultural construct.

How Kindness became our guilty pleasure. Suggests that in moving to an "independence as prime virtue" culture, we have hamstrung our impulses toward rewarding generosity.

Jewelbots. Programmable friendship bracelets to encourage young girls to learn to code.

Angels' Power webcomic. The artist who did the book covers for the epic fantasy trilogy just launched this web comic. I have no idea what it's about, but it's (unsurprisingly) beautifully painted. Go check it out!

Flight Rising, the dragon pet game is open for new members! Join me if you want to breed and dress up dragons. (My username is micahjaguar if you'd like to friend me.)

My website landing page has been cleaned up, and I swear that's the last change I'm going to make for a while. (But it does look better, doesn't it?) Please feel free to share the URL around now that it's no longer embarrassing!

And now, back to the busies. *vanishes for a bit*

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Current Mood: busybusybusy

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Now that I have all the books next to one another it bothers me when the covers don't match, so yesterday I redid the cover for the Jokka collection. Look! Much better.



But then, when I actually went to upload this new cover, I discovered that it's not available anywhere but Amazon, and the Amazon copy is an ancient, hideous Smashwords edition that doesn't have the illustrations and I went AAHHHHHHH and had to fix it. So I did. The updated e-book edition should be at retailers within a few days. So there's that.

Seeing the Kickstarter book by itself made me want to put something next to it, so there's also this going on:



Yes indeed, that is a compilation of the now unavailable Three Jaguars web comic. This particular project is going to take a lot of tweaking since I've never done a graphics novel collection, so I don't expect it to be ready before the end of the summer. We'll see.

***


Moving on, several of you have asked about my decision to remove the a la carte short stories. rowyn wanted to know if there was some disadvantage to having them listed and surprisingly, the answer to that is yes: people do get confused when they see too many things available. I got this advice from Annie Bellet, who is tremendously successful: that you have to be confident enough to unpublish your poor sellers so that your bestsellers are easier to find and your readers don't wander off into blind alleys. I've been slowly removing my short fiction, and my sales have been going up; while I don't think there's a direct correlation there, I'm sure it's contributed.

I know some readers prefer a la carte short fiction. Those people are rare, though. I think I maybe sell one short story every other month, and I have dozens of them available. It's too hard for people to figure out whether they should buy them ("What is this? Why is it so cheap? Wait, is it part of a series? Should I read it in a particular order?"). Plus, they often feel cheated when they pay money for a short story and it ends up feeling 'too short.' And then they leave grumpy reviews that make all of us sad. -_-

I am not unsympathetic to people who say that short fiction gives them an affordable way to try an author's work... but I'm not sure this applies so much to me. My novels are priced between $2.99 and $5.99, and most hover between $4 and $5, so I consider them pretty affordable. Plus, I often run flash-sales, dropping a book down to $2.99 for a week at a time to let people get in on something new. Finally, Earthrise, which is one of the best ways to jump into my oeuvre, is permafree. :)

My jury is still out on novella-length works like "Family" and "Second." It's growing more common to see stories this length as an author's only offering, and I've been watching prices on them: some people even charge $3-$6.99 for stories that are only 100-ish pages. I personally dislike that, but if the market shows that people will buy and enjoy novella-length stories then I might leave them out of collections and sell them a la carte. (But for lower prices: $2.99ish, probably.) We'll see.

Anyway. I did say I was going to take a break so I really am going to do that now. Hopefully. -_-



Edit: It occurs to me one of the reasons this advice works is because true fans will dig through anything to fill in every corner of a favorite author's bibliography. Having lots of a la carte fiction available for them so they can complete their collection is a good thing. But the same thing that serves a true fan drives away new and casual fans... and so when someone like me, who was primarily indie and small-time, starts to make a transition to having a broader audience (or wants to make that transition), then you have to change your presentation to attract that broader audience.

I don't think it's an accident that I'm making more money as I make these choices.

I don't like leaving my true fans behind, though... which is why I'm beginning to offer a la carte stuff like this via Patreon; new short fiction will be made available there for people who don't have any interest in chasing them down elsewhere.

Hrm. This is a new thought! I must sit with it a while.

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I finished all the individual book pages yesterday! My most needed one was definitely for the coloring books. It is a relief to finally have a single page to send people to for those.

Also today, some sanitizing of the menu. "Writing" has become "Books" with dropdowns for genre. The settings info has moved to the wiki tab. I am not entirely happy with that because the setting pages are local and the wiki is off-site and I can see that causing confusion, but I will worry about that later. (Suggestions on how to handle that welcome!)

I cleaned up the setting pages too, adding books to them that were missing and removing all the separate vendor links and replacing them with links to the book pages. Have a look at the Pelted one, for example. I now have only a single place to maintain/update vendor links. So no more broken ones (or at least, it's less likely).

Removing the short fiction that's not available in a collection has made me realize I have a lot of loose material that needs to be put together. I've started a list:

General Pelted Collection 2
     Field Research
     Brass Candy Girl
     Precious Things

Discover and Preserve (Pelted Military Collection 1)
     Second
     Who is Willing
     In the Line of Duty
     Dark Lighthouse
     Season's Meaning
     Stormfront

New Jokka Collection
     Unknowable
     Anadi Dolls
     The Smell of Intelligence
     Stone Moon, Silk Scarves

The general Pelted one is the most flimsy right now, so it will probably end up tabled. But the other two are looking pretty flush, so I might look into that later this year.

The website work is going well! My next targets are the landing page (where do I start), the art page, and then I'll probably go over to Stardancer and start removing stuff. When I'm done the only thing over there will be the art database, unless I find something else that needs keeping.

But I am going to take a break for now. The site is serving its purpose a lot better already (people are buying things that haven't been bought for years!), so I am feeling a lot less urgency about it.

As always, your suggestions are welcome, and thank you for them. I've been incorporating almost everything you have been suggesting! :)

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The page continues to evolve! I incorporated all your suggestions yesterday, plus the ones I got on Twitter. There's now a quick-jump menu at the top so you can get to your favorite genre. I adjusted some of the copy, as well.

Go look!

My next step now is building out the separate book pages. Here's an example:

The Earthrise page.

This gives me a permanent link that tells folks the name of the book, its series and series number, the blurb, all the vendor links, plus tags and a book rating. I'm guessing at the book rating; there are things I consider extremely worthy of an R rating that other people don't. But in general, I'm trying to warn people what they're getting into.

All the science fiction books are done, and I'm working on the fantasy section now. It's a bit of a pain, but I figure I only have to do this huge chunk of work once. After that I can just update a single book as it comes out. Much less time-consuming!

Doing this has made me want to write books, unsurprisingly. My husband likes to joke that I like things in sets because it's true: I love sets. So I see the nonfiction Kickstarter book by itself and I'm like 'it needs something next to it that looks like it!' and I start putting together the materials for the Three Jaguars comic collection. (Seriously. I was doing that last night.) Or I see the Stardancer series books and think "Sword is basically done, except for a TOTAL OVERHAUL/REWRITE, I should do that so there's another book next to it that looks like it!" Lol. :)

Someone asked me why I haven't listed the short fiction/novellas here, and the answer to that is because I'm going to be removing them one by one as I issue them in collections or put them in the backs of books. Sales on single shorts are poor compared to collections; most readers appear to prefer book-length works. So, for instance, expect to see "The Case with the Poisoned House" disappear and those case studies reappear as bonus material at the end of future Dreamhealers novels, and the Alysha shorts and novellas to be bound into a single collection in the future.

Anyway, again your suggestions are welcome! :)

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This morning, out of nowhere, Daughter asked me if there was some other way to have babies than to have them cut out of you (which she knows is how I did it). I am bemused, but obligingly I explain that there's a sort of pouch in womens' bodies called the uterus, and that it is in this pouch that babies develop until they're ready to survive outside their mommies, at which point the uterus starts squeezing until the baby comes out.

"Does that hurt?" she wants to know.

"Yes," I say. "But then it's over, and you have a baby." Which she thinks is a fair trade from her thoughtful silence, and of course I agree, talking as I am to the result of that event.

"But do you have to end up with a big stomach?" she wants to know. "Why can't the baby just lie flat?"

"Because the baby's growing," I said. "You start out so small you can only be seen with a microscope. And then you grow: seed-sized, and then to the size of a walnut, and then an apricot, a grapefruit... pretty soon, you're too big to stay in your mommy and then it's time for you to come out."

By now we're parked and she has bounced out of her booster seat in the back so she can peer at me from between the two front seats. Her incredulity is immense. "I was the size of a walnut??"

"You were smaller than a walnut once!" I say.

"A walnut," she repeats, staggered. For some reason this is the image that sticks with her.

I make the proper shape with my hands. And add, "But you got bigger. That's why a woman's belly gets larger."

"Does that hurt?" Child asks as she jumps out the car. I hand her her backpack.

"No," I say. "It's just uncomfortable. Babies are heavy. It's like that backpack you're wearing, but on the front of your body."

She grins and flips her own until she's wearing it in front. "Like this!"

"Like that," I say, taking her hand.

"So this is something only girls can do."

"That's right," I said. "This is a special thing we can do that men can't. We can have babies."

She says, easily, "Girls must be stronger than boys, then."

I chuckle and say, conspiratorially, "God made us tough for just that reason. But don't tell the boys I said so."

She grins back up at me. As I open the door into her summer camp, I say, "Having you was the best decision I ever made, along with marrying Daddy."

"I know," she says, serene. "You say it all the time."

I smile and follow her in.

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Last night I went and painstakingly uploaded all the covers of my book-length works and re-did my writing page. You can see it here! I have some modifications I want to make to it (mostly in terms of adding anchors so you can jump to your preferred genre faster/see it more easily), but I think it's already much better than it was.

My stage 2 involves making pages for each of the books with the back cover blurb, tags and ratings, and all the vendor links... so I will finally have static pages to point people to when they want to buy a particular book. So that's next, though I expect it to take me a bit.

Meanwhile, I hope the new page is more useful! If you can think of any way to make it even more useful than it is, please tell me! It seems to be working already--I linked it last night on Twitter and this morning some books sold that haven't sold in months. So yay for that! But yes, tell me if you'd like to see anything added/changed/etc. I can't guarantee I'll be able to fix/change everything, but I value your suggestions! :)

Again, you can go look at it here!

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Current Mood: working working

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So I am here, and finally healthy enough to have a good look at my vacation and... lose a big chunk of it to Things That Need Doing that aren't writing/art-related (figures!), mostly having to do with Child's back-to-school stuff and house repairs. But, just to let you all know what I'm up to:

A friend asked me for a short story for her anthology about different kinds of relationships, so I wrote something for her this week (I should know August 16th if she's buying it).

My webcam is definitely broken. Rather than rushing off to get a new one, I am going to wait and see if the new laptop I want to buy will do the streaming instead. I should know by the end of July when I'll be buying that. That's what's controlling when I launch the Kickstarter, so keep an eye out for that news.

For my fun end of year writing projects, I am circling around 3-4 things:
• Updating/rewriting Sword of the Alliance (Stardancer 1)
• Finishing my Alysha novella (after "Second", before "Line of Duty")
• Writing Sediryl's novel
• Writing Dreamhealers 3
Those are the contenders. Since I'm going to enjoy them all, I'll probably do them all and it's just the order that's up in the air.

For my fun end of year art projects, I have these two things vaguely on my radar:
• Another Vinny book (my daughter asked for this)
• More coloring books (suggest themes if you wish!)

From a crowdfunding perspective this year, I've got the Kickstarter planned, and it looks like we should be done with the Shell audiobook by fall. I'd like to figure out something else for my Patreon folks, but I haven't decided what yet.

My website is back up and more responsive, so I am pondering overhauling it. I haven't decided how yet, but "make it easier to find useful information" is top of the priority list.

SFWA is keeping me as busy as I hoped (which is to say 'busy enough to feel engaged, but not so busy that I feel frenzied'). If you ever have any questions about the organization, what I do, or something you think I can help you with, tell me!

And that's what I've got on my plate currently. Many apologies if things fall by the wayside or if I can't answer your personal email/comment/question/etc. If there's one thing no author's been able to tell me yet, it's how an indie author who builds her platform on interpersonal interactions with her audience deals with the reduced time that comes with success. I know how trad authors do it, but that road doesn't work well for people like me. Maybe we'll figure it out as we go along?

Anyway, back to work!

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I do this periodically, but that's because I read a lot and run out of things quickly! But in this case, I'd like to buy entertainment for my upcoming plane flights.

My criteria!

• Fiction, please! Any genre. I like SF/F, romance, historicals, pretty much anything character-driven.
• Under $6.99 (this is a hard rule. No exceptions--sorry! I has a budget!)
• E-book only (this is another hard rule.)
• Bonus if it was published this year and I can nominate it for awards.

I tend to hate things that are vulgar, nihilistic, or gross/ugly. But other than that, I'm all ears. :)
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On days when I am trying to make being more healthy fun, I gamify the eating of vegetables. This game is simple to play: I get a point for every unique vegetable I have that day, and then the next day, I try to beat that count.

I have some personal mods: Starchy vegetables don't count (so no potatoes, etc); salad greens all count as one vegetable (salad greens) unless they're really different from one another, visually; microscopic, garnish, or spice-level amounts don't count. (So chopped onions sprinkled on a salad don't count unless there are a lot of them.)

Hardmode version of this game involves subtracting a point from your count for every grain you eat. You can only get the point back with a unit of exercise (15m of something that raises your heartrate). Rice is the exception to that rule for me, since it's the only grain I can eat without problems.

Anyway, I enjoy the vegetable count game and thought I'd pass it on. It works on some children too. (Some. Not most. Depends on whether their competitive streak is stronger than their grudge against vegetables.)

My count today is 0 because I haven't eaten yet. But I'm about to go change that. *heads off to score points*

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I continue to feed the crows. They are wily and cautious birds, and I like their chatter and their glossy feathers and how they grip things so delicately with a foot while they pry at it with a dark beak.

It is their habit to call for one of us and then scatter when we arrive bearing gifts. So it is one day when I hear a crow on the fence. HUMAN HUMAN

"I'm coming," I say.

HUMAN HUMAN COME WITH FOOD PLEASE

"Here I am!" I say, and add, "Aw, aw," to be polite, even though I don't know what I'm saying. I step out of the lanai and look around. There's a crow on the fence, one in the oak, three that I can see on different parts of the roof, and I know there are two in the front yard. I clear my throat and try the mobbing-cry. "Kaw kaw!" I say.

Seconds later, every crow flies toward me. From the front yard, from the three parts of the roof, from the opposite end of the backyard. They converge and for a moment I am the center of this migration. I stare, holding my breath, as this great flock comes. Because I called!

They perch together in the oak: nine black crows. I put out peanuts, say a friendly, "aw, aw!" and go inside, still trembling. Magic! Like something out of a movie, the stunning visuals of a flock in motion, heading toward a single point.

***


I am sick and home a great deal. I sleep on my round chair, fitful. I dream of crows talking. I worry that they're hungry.

When I wake I go to the window, but there are no crows. Not on the fence, not in the oak. Nowhere. Did they come? Did I dream it? I pick up a big double-handful of peanuts and sneak outside. Standing at the edge of the lanai, I close my eyes and listen. I can't hear anything. Open my eyes. They're not here.

I inflate my lungs. When I call, I am not shouting. It feels more like when I'm singing for choir: deep breath, controlled pitch, carrying sound but not yelling. "Aw aw!" I sing. Just the once.

I wait, wondering.

Overhead, a silhouette. Spread wings, every feather stretched beneath the bright afternoon sun, sailing like a kite, making it look easy, inevitable. The crow comes, lands on the fence, claws scritching on the plastic.

"Hi crow," I say, shy.

The crow cocks its head. I tiptoe to the birdbath and put the peanuts in it, then add, "Aw, aw."

The crow watches me go. Then calls: KAW KAW

And all its family comes. I watch from the window, beaming. They weren't even there this time... and they heard me. And they came!

***


Now when I go out they are less cautious. "Hi crows," I say, and they don't scatter. They don't come close, but they'll often stay on the fence. One is brave, and likes to perch on the screen above me. AWW, she says.

"Aw," I'll answer as I put down the food.

AW

"Aw."

AW

I look up, and now Brave Crow is perched right over me, looking down. We meet one another's eyes and she doesn't fly away. "Aw," I say, smiling. "Aw aw." And then I slip back into the house and leave them to the feast.

***


In a thunderstorm now they'll sit in my oak. They don't want food; if I put it out, they won't go for it. They're just there because... this is their yard. This is my yard, and my yard is a good yard for crows.




They even left me a present to prove it.

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Current Mood: chuffed

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Sick as dog jaguar is slowly becoming less dog-sick-like! Hurrah! Let's catch up!

The Trilogy
...is selling well, thanks to you all, first of all, and thank you so much. The first reviews are trickling in too and it looks like I did not dishonor the ancestors! I am relieved—chuffed!—that I am providing a good binge-reading experience. Thank you particularly for those reviews...I can't advertise until I have at least 10 reviews (on each book!), and that's just for the minor-leaguers. The big book ad places need 25+ before I can compete for their limited ad space. I've been experimenting with ads now for half a year and have concluded that they are very helpful; it's just a matter of figuring out which places to advertise, which book, and at what price point. So being able to use this trilogy as another data point would be very helpful (in addition to allowing me to make more money!). Once I have some useful observations about this, I'm going to share them with you all, too. (I'd also like to talk a little about a friend's observation about indie writing and social media; the journal entry in question's locked, but I hope I can extrapolate about it with permission.)

So, basically: yay, people are reading and seem to be enjoying! And yay, thank you for reviews. Even 'vampire genets are love' is good. Reviews do not have to be long to matter. :)

Patreon
My Patreon has been sadly lacking in content, mostly because between my push to release and being sick I haven't had time to sit down and figure out what to do about the broken webcam. The answer I've come up with, finally, is "replace it with the new laptop webcam" because I also need a new laptop and I was planning to do that anyway when I bought my tablet. (That's what the Kickstarter is for.) Since I have that Kickstarter planned for August, there's no use buying new hardware now. I am going to be uploading our missing hours of the audiobook until I get that set-up worked out again, so expect those soon. Plus, I hope to get back to the coloring book pages, and to other material soon; I'd like to get a "behind the scenes" download done for readers of Morgan's story, for instance. That'll be fun!

The Rest of 2015
...which brings me to the rest of 2015. I am giddy with freedom, having published the five books I wanted to publish in 2015. But this also means that I am a little spastic and unfocused, Because Freedom, and I admit I didn't plan out what I was going to do the moment I finished all my deadlines. This is (hopefully!) okay. I do have things I'd like to do for fun (and to share with you all!), but until I sit down and write those things out and maybe slot them in order, I won't be producing anything on a schedule. It'll all be... well... spontaneous.

o_o

Very scary. I promise I won't stay in that mode long. Not having things planned out scares me. But until I settle down and stop running in circles yelping "YAY YAY YAY FREE FREE DONE YAY" I probably won't be good for much. >.>

The Rest of July
I can say, however, that the rest of this month is going to be a wash. I have a big project to finish at the Day Hobby, so there's that. And I'm also heading out on my rescheduled family trip to London too! I hear summer in London gets as hot as Florida gets... in autumn! I am in awe. I can't wait to experience this bizarre phenomenon for myself! If you are in or around London near the end of the month, there's some talk of us finding a Hotel Chocolat to meet in one afternoon. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, tell me and I'll share the likely time and date with you once it gets closer to time. :)


So, tldr; version: I am less sick! I am taking a break! July will be quiet, but by the end of it I will probably have a ton of new projects to be excited about with you! Stay tuned for more!

And have a bird picture!

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Book 1: Amazon | Apple | Kobo | B&N
Book 2: Amazon | Apple | Kobo | B&N
Book 3: Amazon | Apple | Kobo | B&N


My offering into the epic fantasy genre begins with Morgan Locke, a student scholar with a secret he knows: a wasting disease that is slowly killing him... and one he doesn't: an association with a race out of the folklore that has been the subject of his studies. But the elves of legend are very little like the decadent, amoral monsters he subsequently meets, and there is a mystery there to be solved...one he comfortably believes to be hypothetical until the specter of demons and their legions of undead armies arises again.

This is history, he realizes, not folklore, and now he and his friends are trapped in a fairy tale. How will they reconcile their life before... and the tasks to come?

Today I'm releasing all three books of the Blood Ladders trilogy at once for your binge-reading pleasure, twelve hundred pages or so, meant to be read as a single story (but too large to fit into a single volume!). In those pages you'll encounter sociopathic elves, vampiric genets, quasi-Regency philosophy students, witty conversations, magical transgenderism, zombie armies, relationships of every kind and people of every gender (including asexual), religion (taken seriously), God (unknowable and benevolent), humor, violence, love, duty, and a triumphant ending with one of my trademark extended denouements.

This is the hardest story I've written to date. Both as an artist—a lot of my loneliest experiences are in it—and as a craftsperson. I've never pored over or polished drafts as much as I did these. Some of you will have read Heir as a serial here; read it again. I've changed that much about it, and I think it's that much better for it. The e-books are also the most beautiful I've produced, decorated with elven glyphs, sumptuous frontmatter, and lots of little touches, from the small caps that start the chapters to the curled graphics that separate scenes (and degrade gracefully into stars on readers without graphics). I put everything I have into these, because they deserved it—and so do you.

Go forth and enjoy! And as always, if you like it, tell your friends, leave a review, and pass it on... and thank you! Word of mouth is gold!



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